After searching for a night cache, we returned to the car and were somewhat surprised to see two men trotting out of the woods, jump into their respective cars and drive off. It has to be said that this in itself was not that surprising, however the way the man wearing the skirt managed to maintain his dignity as he climbed into his vehicle was nothing short of impressive to say the least. But I’m getting ahead of myself though. Let’s rewind a few days and start this again.
The school summer holidays were upon us and that meant it was time for Sam’s annual trip up to Norfolk to spend a week with Nanny. Not having seen my mum for quite a while myself, I asked him if he would mind me tagging along this time. There were no objections from him, and Shar, although sad at not being able to come too as she had to look after our aged, senile, people hating cat, was resigned to staying home on the couch in her pyjamas watching the Olympics.
Here are some of the geocaching highlights of our trip.
There was No messing about, we were searching for our first geocache less than an hour after saying goodbye to Sharlene at our “Checkpoint Charlie”, a little chef just outside Ely. The cache in question was a simple church micro in the sleepy hamlet of North Runcton. Driving to the village was a slightly strange experience as we had to drive through a gated common. A few isolated homes and a herd of cows roamed around the common as we kicked Sam out of the car to open and close the gates so we could drive through.
The cache itself was fairly easy to locate once we worked out what a yew tree was. To be fair, Mum knew exactly what a yew tree was, but these ones in particular turned out to be rather small so we had trouble finding them at first. Once we did Sam and mum moved hastily in for the find, but slowed slightly as I read a previous log that mentioned an adder had been discovered recently guarding the cache. The container was spotted, but alas no adder was evident. To be honest, a 12 year old and a blind man make enough noise to scare off all the snakes in Norfolk.
After this we moved over to the green to grab some information of the village sign to try and find another cache. We got the info fine and found the intended hide for the cache but there was no sign of the container. Sam did find a couple of tennis balls though. Not too worry, a cache had been found today already and so we headed back to mum’s, stopping on the way at a local farm to pick some blueberries.
Our next smilies came a couple of days later when we went into King’s Lyn to do a bit of Geo-Poké-cach-mon-ing. We managed to find two more church micros, failed miserably at another nearby cache but managed to finish up finding a nice little nano hidden inside a stick in one of the large parks in the town. Along the way Sam managed to catch some digital monsters, evolve some others and do various other Pokémon related things. And then as we were walking through the park, Sam announced that he had found the place that the picture in my blog’s banner graphic was taken. I could only take his word for it as I don’t really know what the picture is at the top of my blog other than it being of some trees. What do you think?
, a few days later, at the weekend, I had requested to specifically go and find a geocache as there was a souvenir up for grabs. Before leaving Watford, Sam had brilliantly solved the maze puzzle from geocaching.com that revealed that the challenge this weekend would be to find a multi cache. As ever, mum’s “can do” attitude had us incorporating a small geocaching excursion into our schedule and a multi cache was duly located in Burnham Overy.
I have often heard the expression ‘a one horse town’ to describe very small places, but I think that in the case of tiny Burnham Overy, they probably just borrowed a horse from a neighbouring town when they need one. Saves on the oats you know.
They did have chickens though. These we found free ranging around the churchyard as we made our way to collect the required info to get the coordinates for the cache. A bit of mental maths and converting letters to numbers in a way all too familiar to geocachers and we had the required digits dialled into the phones. The cache itself was a short walk from the church on the triangular shaped green that basically seemed to be ‘the village’.
After making the find we decided to head back to the churchyard and have lunch on a handy bench we had spotted earlier. No sooner had we sat down and unwrapped the sandwiches, than the chickens clucked over and started getting rather inquisitive. We politely shooed them away, but they just kept coming back and then in a flurry of feathers one jumped up on to my lap and was trying to nick my sarnie! We were having none of that and polite shooing turned into fending off with my white stick whilst we collected our things and fled to the safety of the church porch.
Mum is a very keen bird watcher, but somewhat ironically, prefers the birds to very much keep their distance. The inquisitive chickens were enough to give her quite a shock. Thankfully the chickens did not follow us to the porch and when we sat down to resume our lunch, we discovered a family sitting opposite us looking very suspiciously like they were trying to work out the multi cache too. It is always nice to meet other geocachers out and about and in this case the 20 minute chat we had with the family whilst we ate our lunch was both enjoyable and a good way for mum to take her mind of the killer chickens.
Feeling refreshed after lunch we took a walk across the fields to pick up another couple of nearby caches. Both of these were placed by the National Trust and therefore had a good amount of interesting stuff to be read in the description about the nearby landmarks, in this case a water mill and a windmill. We almost didn’t find the 2nd cache, at the water mill, but Sam did us proud and spotted it just as I was thinking we were going to have to give up.
I didn’t think we would get anymore caching done before we left Norfolk on the Monday but that evening we got to talking about night caches and… Well … one thing led to another and low and behold on Sunday evening at just gone 9pm we were parked in a lay-by not far from Kings Lyn checking our torch batteries. This was to be my first ever night cache and I was, understandably, somewhat excited. Sam had done one already, also with Nanny, and so knew what to expect. After a false start taking the wrong path into the woods, we were soon on the right track and between Nanny and Grandad and eagle eyed Sam we spotted our first reflector fixed to a tree next to the path. As we experimented with shining the torch at it, I found I could even notice it slightly too. Cool!
Ten minutes and 5 reflectors later we had reached the point in the woods were the description had advised us that we did not need to travel beyond. At that point, almost instantly, our little group all split up and everyone went in different directions looking for the cache. I was left standing on the path listening to what was going on around me. I mooched back and forth along the path a bit following their sounds, desperately wanting to plunge into the trees and help with the search but navigating in total darkness, even with a torch, in the woods is somewhat perilous for me. I did give it a bit of a go, carefully tapping through the trees and it made me feel a bit like I was helping but basically I was just spending all my brain power trying not to trip over a root or fall in a ditch, rather than actually searching for the cache. As it turned out the finding of the cache was achieved with a combination of logical reasoning, on my part, and 3 sets of good eyes belonging to the others.
And so we returned to the car, which is where I began my story. Not much more to say really. I am sure you can figure out what the two men were up to in the woods, or at least I reckon you could make an educated guess anyway. It wasn’t the only weird thing that greeted us as we returned to the car. When we had gone into the woods and hour earlier we were the only people in the lay-by, no sign of other cars or people anywhere. When we came back we almost fell over a woman sitting by the side of the road clasping a baby and staring off into space. She seemed to be neater in distress or discomfort and so we did what all good British people do and that was just to give her a wide berth and get into our car. Before we drove away though a man pushing two bicycles did appear, one of which had a baby seat strapped to the back, so that was alright then. Norfolk is weird like that sometimes, you just gotta roll with it.
That was it for caching in Norfolk but we did manage to find a cheeky little cache in Ely just before Sam and I were handed back to Shar. It is a very clever little cache along the river front in the town that had us all foxed for a while but eventually Sam spotted the hint, which was simply “code”. On a pole next to a building along with other meaningless letters and numbers was a magnetic strip with some familiar digits on it. For anyone who wasn’t in the know it would just be more random numbers and letters, but to geocachers it was actually the GC code of the cache. I don’t think I have come across a cache that better fits the description of “hiding in plain sight” than this one, and I was happy to give it a favourite point.
We didn’t go to Norfolk with the intention of getting more than one or 2 caches throughout the week, but with the odd one here and there, we had managed to find 10 over the course of our holiday. Along with witnessing a large amount of medals earned at the Olympics and all the other fun things that Nanny’s always seem to have ready up their sleeve, it was a thoroughly enjoyable time indeed. Happy Days.
These geocaching adventures took place during the week of August 8th through 15th and took our cache count up to 1520.